EX3 and DVCAM Workflow
I am considering moving to EX3 from Z1. Many shoots I'm involved in are unrepeatable. To future proof the material I want to shoot and archive in HD, but some of my customers require complete archives of tapes and the edited master in DVCAM.
Is there a simple and foolproof way of achieving this while maximising the DVCAM image quality?
Also, for my own HD archives would you recommend Blue Ray discs? What is the simplest and most cost effective way of setting this up?
Finally, I would need a lot of cards, Probably 5 x 32GB for field trips. I've heard that using lower cost SD cards with an adapter instead of SxS is a possibility. How reliable is this method.
I use FCP on an 8 processor intel MAC with 8GB RAM.
I've scanned your posts relating to workflow but can't find the answers I need to feel confident about changing. I'd be really grateful for your views of where we are today on these issues.
I use a AJA HDe card it down converts in real time, just play the clips. Set to letterbox or anamorphic.
I would just drop all the clips in a timeline (I use FCP or M100) and then play them to deck component or SDI.
If you want to use Firewire you have to render a timeline as HDV first. Time consuming and quality will be lost.
I also have a Matrox MX02 it does the same very high quality down convert in real time.
I archive all my XDcam footage on Bluray or 5/9 SD DVD's and on 2 HD's in different locations.
I use a Lacie FW Bluray burner, I just do data dvd's in finder or using Toast. I am Mac based. If I only have a small amount to archive I use the single layer DVD up to 4.3GB, or double layer about 8GB. Blurays hold 23 or 45 GB's.
I also have a Database set up that is searchable and has thumbnails with reference to the Drives and Bluray or DVD's. I wish I ad done this back in the Beta days. It is so easy now with file based video, there is no longer any excuse, not to be organized.
If anyone is interested in trying the DB I have a Beta version that runs on Mac available, I plan to market it eventually.
I personally have stopped using SDHC cards, I still have some 16GB Sandisks, that work fine. But too many people seem to have problems with them for me to be comfortable using them. Most problems seem to be related to restarting recording in a second or two before data has been transfered from buffer to card or removing card too soon while activity light is red.
There are some solutions coming from Sony and others this fall that offload cards directly to a HD in the field at 10X speed. Seems like a very good solution:
[michael crane] "some of my customers require complete archives of tapes and the edited master in DVCAM. "
Customers are often not aware of the latest technology and how it can help them. EX files on optical disks are certainly much easier to store than DVCAM and obviously the quality is much better. There's also no need for a compatible deck.
If they need standard def they might be better off with 8 Bit Uncompressed files. They'll be a SIGNIFICANT quality difference.
Using DVCAM tape seems like a lot of extra work for the advantage of loosing a lot of quality. I don't understand DVCAM as a "requirement" unless they have very old computers that can't handle EX codec demands.
[michael crane] "I've heard that using lower cost SD cards with an adapter instead of SxS is a possibility. How reliable is this method. "
I've been using 2 32GB SDHC cards since January and NEVER had an issue. If you were to compare the cost of 5 SDHC cards to 5 SxS cards, you can buy an additional lens for that EX3 with the savings.
Many thanks for your advice, it's been a great help.
I've looked at the kit involved and it all looks reasonably cost effective. Olof, Lacie Bluray looks good, and would be nice to reduce the physical size of our archive. Also like the idea of library database search. Sounds interesting.
I'm less sure I understand the workflow surrounding DVCAM archive and master. I hope you'll forgive me if I misunderstood. Did you suggest creating the DVCAM archive from the FCP timeline and then re-ingesting clips from the archive for edit? Matrox MXO2 looks attractive, but you mention component I/O. I currently use an M15e HDV/DVCAM recorder player, would this have to be replaced? Then,is it best to down convert first and edit in SD or edit in HD and down convert afterwards?
Many thanks too Craig. I'm reassured to find you've had good experience with SDHC cards. Incidentally, which ones? Your advice about where to spend the money saved on cards is spot-on.
You're right about DVCAM. But as a professional yourself, you know we don't always get to vote.
Basically I would not recommend archiving in SD.
I was just saying if you have to for a client. I would make the tapes from a timeline and have that timeline be the same as what you are burning onto Bluray or whatever, and HD's.
The Database has fields for Number (auto indexed) and name of DVD, and hard drives footage is stored on with Folder name. It would be easy to add a field with tape #/name.
Many thanks for the clarification.